Thursday, January 31, 2013

Kick Off February - Wear RED

Friday, February 1st is National Wear RED Day- click here for details  

Love your Heart!  Here are a few ways to live a longer, stronger life:

1: Be Active and get moving!  The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity.  Studies show that for every hour of walking you may increase your life expectancy by two hours.

2: Quit Smoking! Click here to learn about how the Amercian Heart Association can help and quit today. 

3: Eat healthy! click here to visit the American Heart Association online nutrition website where you'll find help getting started on a healthy diet as well as recipes, shopping tips and cookbooks.

4: Manage those stress levels!  Laughter is one of the best medicines for stress management and there are lots of others too.  Click here for more resources on fighting stress with healthy habits.

5: Manage your weight!  Burn more calories than you take in.  Learn about your body mass index and why it matters here on the American Heart Assocation website.

Monday, January 28, 2013

How I did it ... and why.

Linda Teddlie Milton here and  I'm so pleased to contribute my art shoes to this cause.  Although many people think of heart disease as a man's problem, in fact, heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. It is also a leading cause of disability among women.  Let's do something about it!

Mossimo "Pernella" black velvet pumps were my starting point.
First - remove strap; apply a black glitter paint on the heels,
prep bottom edge of shoes with clear gesso,
and add zebra-striped duct tape ... yes, duct tape!
The toes were filled with a mixture of gel medium and
glass beads, for added weight and stability.  (That step
had to dry for weeks!)

Floral foam was added as a base for the moss.

The shoes were taped off with newspaper
to provide protection for the next steps.

"Moss" (model railroad scenery) was added.

"trees" (also model railroad scenery) were added,
and everything was sprayed with a glittery silver paint,
followed by black paint for shadows.

Silk flowers, nubby yarn, crystals, beads, coins,
and trinkets were added to create the "Treasure Hunt"

Here's the Monkey King, perched on top
of one of the shoes.

A scary little skull tops off the other shoe.

A teeny tiny vehicle is on its way towards the treasure.

Jungle-y treasure hunt!

The End.
I'm looking forward to seeing all the other art shoes created for this fundraiser.  Thank you, Sue Bleiweiss and Jamie Fingal, for organizing it.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Women Fly When Men Aren't Looking...

Leslie here.  Years ago I remember seeing a friend of mine wearing a t-shirt that said these words,
"Women Fly When Men Aren't Looking".  I was amused and captivated by the statement and I guess it got filed in my memory bank!
To create my shoes I chose a set of black sueded stilettos, sky high.  I can tell you my days of wearing shoes such as these are OVER.  Personally, I have a serious shoe fetish and view many of them as sculpture.
I've been meaning to play around with sari silk yarn as a means of encasing another object but really wasn't sure I could pull it off on shoes.  Thank goodness for Yes! glue:  it was just what I needed to be able to coil the strands of silk yarn onto the shoe surface.  I began by covering the surface of the shoe, excluding the heel (which I did separately afterward), with Yes! glue.  I gently positioned one strand of the sari silk on the seam of the edge and wound the yarn around and around the shoe, making sure that the yarn, which has varying thicknesses, was closely positioned to the previous wrapping.

First, I painted the surface of the shoes with clear gesso, inside and out.
The suede made it very easy for the gesso to "take hold" of the surface.

I worked around the base, and then the top edge of each shoe.  I configured a separate coil of yarn at the top of each toe.

I did a separate coil around the heel, as well.  This gave the shoe an interesting pattern.
After covering the entire shoe body, I coiled yarn over the stiletto heel in a vertical pattern.
Surprisingly, this was not too difficult.

I created the wings by fusing silk onto Peltex with Mistyfuse, I fused pink to one side of each wing, and blue to the other, but fused the colors on opposing sides.  Once fused, I trimmed around each shape and free-motion stitched the feather patterns onto each wing.  I used blue thread through the needle and florescent orange in the bobbin!

In trying to figure out how to place the wings I realized that I wanted them to be removable.
I couldn't figure out how I would be able to preserve them during shipping, otherwise.
For this I elected to stitch the wings together and placed a thin strip of velcro on the shoe heel and the wings.  This way, the wings are stable on the shoe but are easily removed for shipping!

Here is when I realized I made a mistake in the progression of the construction:
I should have painted the interior of these shoes before I started coiling the yarn.
What was I thinkin?!
In retrospect, I wish I had painted them a matte black.  Oh well.
Since I love to do things the "hard way" (apparently!) I had to handle the shoes differently to 
finish the interiors.  

I decided to "fill" the shoe interiors with a combination of sari silk strips and brightly-colored
funky buttons.  It was really fun to do this, but again, I wish I had figured this part out first.
I love my bright, happy shoes!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Call of the Wild - A Fantasy in Two Shoes

Virginia Spiegel here...

The concept for my entry in this fun fundraiser came after I made a comment on FB that I was sure my high heel shoes would have something to do with the outdoors.  A friends said she could just see me lugging my 50 lb. pack in high heels and pearls. I didn't know about that, but it made me think that maybe some wild creatures would like to dress up once in awhile.

In any case, I purchased my first pair of high heels in twenty years.  They are nice sturdy standard black pumps since I knew I would have a lot of "stuff" to add to them.

Just to be on the safe side, I coated the shoes inside and out with two coats of white gesso.  This is coat one.

The trees I had purchased had white bases. I mixed up a nice batch of green paint with a lot of black added and painted both the tree bases and the insides of the shoes.  

I had my fantasy concept of wildlife "putting on the ritz" in the wild, but I wasn't sure exactly how I would actually make it work with the shoes.  So I collected a bunch of stuff that looked like it might work.  The blue fabric was one I painted and monoprinted and ran from blue to green - perfect!  I was thinking pink for the bottom of the shoe, but a blue stenciled piece looked more "lake and forest" in the end.

To fit the contours of the shoes, the fabric was cut into many, many small pieces.  Here the heel is finished with the green fabric and the blue fabric is cut for the body of one shoe.  Gel medium was used for the adhesive.

Both shoes finished - whew! - and coated with several coats of gel medium to seal them.

I love the water-y feel of the fabric I found for the bottom of the shoe.  The fabric was painted and then stenciled using a cardboard coffee holder.  Again, many small pieces and several coats of gel medium to seal.  While I had the gel medium going, I adhered a green ribbon with a pine needle pattern in the inside of the shoe.  You can see a bit of it in the next photo.  I was pretty sure it would never show, but I liked knowing it was there.

Would it be a "Call of the Wild" shoe without a wolf?  I cut a piece of floral foam to fit, added a coat of  thick gel medium to the bottom and wedged it in the back of one of the shoes.  I was worried about the wolf being secure (What can I say? I am a belt and suspenders kind of person), so I made pins out of florist wire and pinned her feet down and added a coat of gel medium on top of the pins.  

I added purchased moss and bark from the river birch in my front yard.  The final fashion touch for the wolf:  A snazzy pink and black purse.

Ms. Bear (modeling a stylish pearl choker) was added to the front of the shoe.  I used E600 glue to secure the bear since she didn't need a florist foam support. Trees, moss, and bark finished out the habitat.  

"Call of the Wild" - Shoe #1.  Onward.

Shoe #2. The moose also is up on a foam support.  I bought many colors of Barbie shoes.  But since this was an elegant outing, I went with silver and aqua shoes. (And, yes, I know this must be a bull moose to have antlers, but work with me here on our little fantasy scene :).  It just wouldn't be the same without the antlers.)

Many of you know how much I love the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. This was a way to reference the flora and fauna I've grown to know so well with a little wink of the eye.

Monday, January 7, 2013

15 Minutes to Play with HEELS!

Hi Everyone, 
Victoria Findlay Wolfe here with some RED, smoking, hot, High heels! 

I was so excited to work on this project, that I barely let the dust settle after the UPS man put this box in my eager, creative, little hands...  Now, I do like a GREAT pair of heels,  ( I have only one pair that I covet...Mr. Jimmy Choo) but I deliberately bought these a size 6, so there would be NO chance that I would have a hard time giving these up...Because you see, I wear a size 12...LOL!  But really, I am 6' tall and I don't REALLY need to wear 5" heels... But that didn't  stop my daughter from trying them on and walking around in them...(scary)

First up was to make a pattern of my shoes. Using muslin and a sharpie, I curved the fabric around the shoe, drawing out the shape to give me a basic pattern.

Next, I used the muslin as my pattern, and "Made Fabric" and cut the shape out. I added a inner flap of red so I could easily fold that the inside to keep the shoe looking seamless.

 A pin here,
a bit of HOT glue here, dab there... It's been years since I used a glue gun, and I can add that the skin has now grown back on my finger tips...making this all stay together...LOL!

I grabbed some red velvet ribbon to seal up the edges, and make a cleaner line around the shoe.  Then added the Fun YELLOW zipper flowers, that I found in my "garment center" hood...I thought they added a nice ZING to the shoe. ( and a nod to the Inspirational Jamie's zipper work)

I had so much fun making these, It inspired me to think even MORE out of the box, then I already do! Just shows how taking 15 Minutes really can pay off... bit by bit...ideas come! 

Focusing on form rather then function, although, I may just have to go order me a pair of  size 12's now... then function would be my reality! (and not my 12 year old daughter's!) It is about the funniest thing you've ever seen, watching her ATTEMPT to walk around in these!
Thanks Sue and Jamie for asking me to play along!